Last chapter in this series! (But still not the end of these characters) Thanks to all those who helped me write the RP some of the chapters were based on, my beta reader, and all those who left feedback.
"You know what..." Nick grunted, gingerly swinging his injured leg back up onto the cot. "I should have skipped the bar..."
"I'm still surprised that you thought about my advice. Even if it is after the fact." Vox crossed the room, sitting down on a large metal crate.
"I wouldn't have had to consider anything if you hadn't shot me." Nick reached over the edge of the bed, retrieving his medkit. He produced a large pair of scissors, the type you would find in a hospital used for cutting away clothes.
"I wouldn't have had to shoot you if you hadn't shot at me first." The turian took a more relaxed posture, making himself as comfortable as possible on top of the crate. He leaned back a bit on the wall.
Nick looked up, shooting a dirty look at Vox. He looked back down, turing his attention to his bandaged leg. After cutting trough the bloodied gauze, he discarded the scissors. The pain was deep and aching, extending from the wound all the way down to the ankle. There was most likely some type of bone injury involved. Nick flicked open his omni tool, doing a thorough scan of the leg. The mass accelerated slug had torn through the muscle tissue in the calf, glancing off the bone before exiting on the other side. A nasty injury, but nothing a little 22nd century medicine couldn't fix.
"You never told me how you ended up on Omega.." Nick broke the silence, trying to distract himself from the pain.
"It's a long story.." Vox shook his head, obviously reluctant to talk about this subject.
"I'm not going anywhere." He looked up briefly before rummaging for more medical supplies. "Well?"
"I don't know where to start..."
"You left the Citadel for some reason.." Nick prompted him.
"Archangel. I wanted to find him."
"And you did." Nick wrapped a fresh bandage around his leg. He would have to get someone else at the clinic to fix the damage, it was too much to take on by himself. "And it turns out the guy is a dick."
Vox let out a small chuckle at the human's comment. He didn't blame Archangel. The whole idea of joining the vigilante seemed laughable at this point. Like a child thinking they could fight along side of their favorite super hero.
"How'd you find out about him?"
"I had a lot of odd jobs after the attack on the Citadel... Bartender, bouncer, store clerk... I found out about him when I applied for C-Sec. I didn't get that job.."
"Good." Nick was now loading up an injection of painkillers. "Cause if you ever became a cop, I'd have to disown you." He plunged the needle into his arm, grimacing as the dose went in. "What happened to whats-her-name?"
Nick could tell Vox was holding back. He stayed silent as he packed away his supplies and tossed the old bandages away, waiting for the turian to reply.
"We're not together anymore." Vox didn't want to talk about this. He sat still and quiet, but on the inside, he was kicking and screaming.
"Ha! Figures... I guess human women and turian woman aren't that different." Nick paused briefly, then started again. "I was dating this one chick for a couple years before I went in the Alliance.. I tell her I'm enlisting, she goes psycho. Then, I decide to giver her a visit after I got kicked out. She married one of my former best friends two months after I left. Two fucking months." He shook his head with a hollow chuckle.
"No, it wasn't like that. Aula is dead." Vox spoke the words to himself more than at the human.
"The geth and Sovereign... I told her to meet me by our apartment. I never made it there, but she did." Vox stood up and started pacing across the room. "That whole section of the Citadel was ripped open. They never found her." His voice intensified.
"Damn..." Nick didn't know how to react to the news. "That sucks. I'm sorr-"
"Don't say that! Its so... so..." Vox struggled to find the right word, moving his hands in the air as he talked.
"Never mind.." His arms fell down to his sides. He turned, continuing to pace. "I don't know why I'm telling you this anyway." He was getting angry, his usual calm demeanor disappearing quickly. He fought a loosing battle in his mind, he could feel the pent up rage of the past four years coming forward. Vox wouldn't admit it, but feeling that type of raw emotion scared him more than anything.
"Well." Nick sighed. "You never seemed like the type to get this upset over a single girl."
This sent Vox into a rage. He whipped around, grabbing the human by the front of his jacket, lifting him off of the cot. "Don't...you...ever..." He growled, his mandibles flexing. He let go of Nick's jacket, shoving him back onto the cot. Vox collected himself, striding out to the door. "I'm going for a drink." He announced simply before leaving the human alone.
Vox wasn't surprised by his action, an outburst had been building for a while. It was only a matter of time, and that time had come. He was angry at everything, regardless of their involvement. Nick. Archangel. The Citadel Council. The gangs. The whole damned galaxy. It wasn't fair. He lost everything, and the only thing his lone "friend" can do about it is make sarcastic jokes.
He stormed out of the clinic, simply pushing those that were in his way. He walked without any idea of where he was going. After a while, he found himself in a dark deserted alleyway. He paused finally, leaning his head up against the cold metallic bulkhead. He could feel the faint thump of club music pulsing trough the wall. A stiff drink or two would feel really good just about now.
Vox found his way to a nearby elevator. He selected his desired floor, and the machine slowly began its ascent up two floors. It stopped one floor short. The doors slid open, a human and a batarian stepped inside, both wearing Blue Suns armor and carrying very cocky attitudes.
"Level seven." The human spoke with a nod of his head. Vox ignored him, not making any moves to the control panel. "Please?" The human added, flashing a wry smile at his comrade.
"Hey, friend." The batarian started. "When a Blue Sun asks you to do something, you better do it." Vox made eye contact with the batarian, but still remained silent.
"I'll ask again before I tell you. Level 7."
"I'd say our friend here is looking for a fight."
The turian replied by tilting his head side to side, feeling a satisfying crack in his neck.
The fist blow was easy to block. Vox grabbed the human's fist, twisting it around. The batarian landed a direct hit to the side of his head, but it was easily shaken off. He knocked back the human with a stiff elbow to the face. The man stumbled against the wall of the cramped elevator, bleeding heavily from the face. The batarian had used this moment to draw a large scary looking blade from a sheath attached to his armor. Vox sidestepped the knife attacks. He managed to grab the weapon away, snapping his attacker's arm in the process. In one swift motion, he embedded the long blade into the batarian's neck. The mercenary collapsed to the ground, a low gurgling sound escaping from his mouth. With his free hand, Vox drew his pistol and leveled it at the human.
"All right, all right." The man pleaded, giving up on an attempt to draw his own weapon. He was still bleeding heavily from the nose, and his face was beginning to swell. Vox took a step forward, pushing the barrel of his pistol under the man's chin. "I'm done, ok? You win, you wi-" Vox pulled the trigger. The sound of the heavy pistol was deafening in such close quarters.
There were a few shocked expressions when the elevator door finally opened, revealing the gory scene. Vox strode through the open doors past the new onlookers, casually wiping blood from his hands. He marched past the bouncer into the club, not even exchanging his usual nod.
"Hey, hey.." A familiar sounding voice piped up as Vox took his seat at the bar. He looked up, seeing a human bartender with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth. "Long time no see. You went from being a regular to disappeared real quick." The man laughed, leaning on the counter.
"I've been busy."
"Well... I'm just glad you haven't been found face down in a gutter somewhere. You look like you've been through hell."
"I'm still in hell."
"There's two ways I can fix that. A stiff drink, and a date with one of the lovely asari dancers, on me." The bartender nodded off in the direction of one of the half nude dancers. Vox looked at the attractive women, and almost considered the man's offer. Maybe even something purely physical would be a good distraction.
"I'll start with just a drink for now." He thought against it. Or would wait until he was so drunk that he wouldn't remember the encounter...
"Right.." The bartender produced a dark amber bottle from under the counter. He filled a short glass with the dark liquid. "And by the looks of it, you'll need something strong." Vox took the glass, downing half of it in a single gulp. He choked a bit, the liquid setting his mouth and throat on fire.
"No..." He swallowed the rest. "Get me another." He tossed the glass down on the counter. The bartender refilled the glass with one arm, while discarding his cigarette in a nearby ashtray with the other.
"After you're done with that one, I have something even stronger. If you're up for it." Vox nodded, setting down the again empty glass, and sliding it to the human.
Vox had no idea how long he sat there, pounding back drink after drink. The bartender made some comment about people who drink that much must be suicidal. If he only knew. The human was down at the other end of the bar talking with a few other patrons, still puffing away on a smoke. Vox made a grab for his glass. He knocked it off of the counter, causing it to shatter into dozens of pieces. He decided it was time to leave.
"Hey! Watch it!" An asari snapped. Vox had unintentionally grabbed her as he tried to steady himself.
"Ok, you've had enough." A krogan bouncer grabbed Vox by the arm, dragging him towards the exit of Afterlife. The turian didn't put up a fight, stumbling along while talking incoherently to himself.
"You can come back once you've sobered up a bit." With that, the menacing bouncer shoved the drunken Vox into the entrance hallway of the club. He quickly lost his footing, falling to the ground. He leaned up against a nearby wall, the decorative flames on the wall licking the back of his head. He knew they were fake, but he could swear there was heat coming off of them. There must have been more than just alcohol in those drinks...
The traffic into the club was slow, but even the few patrons didn't pay any attention to the drunk. Vox sat quietly for what seemed like hours, his perception of time altered by whatever chemicals he had been drinking.
He felt numb and detached, like he was watching a video of himself. He watched as the pathetic looking turian slowly reached for its belt. It pulled out a pistol, fumbling with it for a moment, and then checking the thermal clip. The turian flipped the large caliber weapon around in his hand, and then bowed his head, resting his forehead against the cold metal of the gun's barrel. Vox wanted to yell out, to tell the turian not to do it. The alien closed his eyes; at the very same time, Vox's vision went dark.
He stirred, feeling a sharp pain in his upper right arm. Why was there pain? There wasn't supposed to be pain after death. Something was tugged from his hands. He moved again, this time trying to open is eyes. The whole world was blurry, he couldn't make any sense of it. Like a painting that had been dropped in a puddle.
"Vox." Nick poked the passed out turian. He readied another dose of medication, preparing to inject it. "Vox. The more of this I have to give you, the worse your hangover is going to be."
Vox opened his eyes again. This time, the images he saw made a bit more sense. There was someone crouched down in front of him. He squinted, trying to get a clear picture of the familiar face that was staring at him.
"Nick?" He mumbled, more of a guess than anything. He could feel another drug taking over in his system with every heartbeat. The medic must have injected him with something to counteract the effects of reckless drinking. His thoughts and visions became clearer, but a splitting headache grew in intensity at the same time.
"Yup, thats me." Nick gave a slight smile. Vox was able to hold his eyes open now. "See this?" Nick held the pistol he had pulled from Vox's claws. "It was cycled half way, jammed the thermal clip."He tilted the weapon on its side, showing a thermal clip stuck halfway out of the ejection port. "The trigger has been pulled too.." He pointed the the firing mechanism. It was depressed into the grip, having not reset itself due to the jammed thermal clip.
"Too drunk to even off myself..." Vox rested his head back against the wall, laughing quietly. "I'm sorr-"
"Don't say that." Nick scolded, but in a relaxed tone. "Come on. Lets get you to the clinic." He pulled on the turian's arm, slowly helping the alien to his feet. "How many drinks did you have?"
"Right... Just don't throw up on me." He helped Vox walk, taking slow and deliberate steps.
"I feel like I'm trapped in hell... Know the feeling?" He looked around at all of the flames projected onto the walls. He still swore he could feel them throwing off heat.
Nick nodded. "Yeah, I know the feeling.. But sometimes..." He thought for a moment. "..Hell ain't a bad place to be."